Z

A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

By Therese Anne Fowler
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250028655, 375pp.)

Publication Date: March 26, 2013

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the May 2013 Indie Next List
“Z gives voice to a much unknown and misunderstood literary figure. While Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lead a very public life in many ways, Zelda was often forced to operate in a lifestyle that would make any modern woman squirm with discontent, if not cry out with a vengeance. Fowler breathes life into a voice who very much deserved to be heard in her own time and now. Any lover of the art, literature, and culture of the Jazz Age will not be disappointed with this read.”
-- Karl Meutsch, Phoenix Books, Essex, VT


Description

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.


When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it. 


 

 




About the Author
John Warley, a native South Carolinian, is a graduate of the Citadel and the University of Virginia School of Law. He practiced law in Virginia until 1993 when he moved to Mexico to write and teach. Now a full-time writer, Warley divides his time between Beaufort, South Carolina, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.


NPR
Saturday, Mar 23, 2013

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald wed in 1920, and the two went on to have a famously turbulent literary marriage. Would Zelda have been better off without her husband? Novelist Therese Anne Fowler says, "They were two sides of one coin." More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Many accounts of both Scott and Zelda contend that Zelda wouldn't marry Scott unless he was well off—a view they themselves encouraged in the early years of their marriage. How does this play into the flapper image Zelda embodied in the '20s? Overall, was it harmful or beneficial to her?

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